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No parole for Vernal woman who tortured son

Published January 4, 2013 12:07 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Utah Board of Pardons and Parole has decided a Vernal woman will serve every day of her 20-year prison term for hanging her 6-year-old son upside-down in a doorway — which caused the loss of his toes and parts of his feet.

The parole board's ruling means Michelle Napolitano, 35, will not be released until June 4, 2030.

Napolitano had pleaded guilty in 8th District Court to one second-degree felony count of intentionally inflicting serious bodily injury on a child, as well as five class A misdemeanor counts of intentionally inflicting serious bodily injury on a child.

During a 2011 parole hearing, Napolitano said that in December 2009 when the torture occurred, she was drinking, doing drugs and suffering from paranoia while pregnant with her seventh child.

Allegedly fearing harm from the boy, she tied him hand-and-foot and hanged him from a nail in a doorway for at least 24 hours and possibly longer. Due to the ensuing loss of circulation and infection, doctors amputated all the boy's toes and parts of his feet.

The board listed a number of aggravating factors in support of their decision to deny parole for Napolitano, including that she demonstrated extreme cruelty or depravity, had minimized her role in the crime and had acted intentionally. The board also noted the extent of physical and emotional injury to the victim.

Other recent parole board actions include:

— Paul Donald Kimball, 44, of Roy, will serve natural life in prison. Kimball was sentenced to 15-years-to-life for sexually assaulting and robbing a woman in 1994. In 2004, Kimball allegedly planned to escape from the prison with the help of another man, who planned to smuggle a gun.

— Rudy Michael Romero, 44, will serve natural life. Romero in 1994 was sentenced to prison to two five-years-to-life terms for aggravated robbery.

— Christopher Wilkes, 52, was given a rehearing in 2022. Wilkes, who is serving up to 15 years for robbery, pleaded guilty in federal court to five counts of mailing threatening communications for sending threatening letters to federal judges in Salt Lake City. In three of the letters, Wilkes threatened the life of President Clinton.

brooke@sltrib.com